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Just two minutes stroll from a stunning shingle beach, The Ship is a well-loved, iconic old smugglers' inn overlooking the salt marshes and sea.

Dunwich was at one time a medieval port of some size and importance, then the original village was virtually destroyed by a terrible storm in 1326. Further storms and erosion followed and now the place is little more than a hamlet surrounded by heathland, nature reserves and a fine shingle beach. Now popular with coast path walkers, birdwatchers visiting the RSPB Minsmere reserve and visitors to nearby Aldeburgh and Southwold, The Ship makes the perfect seaside bolthole.

Renowned for its timeless atmosphere, the main bar remains delightfully traditional with a wood-burning stove in a huge fireplace, flagged floors, simple wooden furnishings and nautical artefacts - a great place for hunkering down with a drink in hand on wild winter days. The Chestnut Group have sympathetically refurbished The Ship keeping with the location and its iconic status as being one of Suffolk's unspoilt coastal gems. Garden redesigned in 2021 replete with Field Bar and Field Kitchen serving pizzas and seaside favourites.

Rooms from

Doubles: £120

Good to know

  • Visa and Mastercard accepted, Amex not accepted
  • Alfresco & private dining
  • Parking available
  • Dog stay: £15

Scenic and serene
Surrounded by heathland, nature reserves and the sea, the hamlet of Dunwich is a perfect spot for some rest and relaxation.

Water and waves
The inn is just a few minutes from the shingle beach - enjoy amazing views over the sea. The beach is dog-friendly too.

Dog friendly
Dogs are welcome in all the rooms overnight and will find themselves treated to blankets, a water bowl and treats.


Rooms are split between the inn and the recently converted stable rooms. All have been stylishly refurbished in keeping with the traditional coastal charm.

Inside, a fine Victorian staircase leads to a clutch of cosy rooms, which are light and spotlessly clean with pastel seaside hues, pretty fabrics, very comfortable brass or French-style rattan beds, lightwood furnishings, period features, and the best offers soothing views across Dingle Marsh and sea from leaded pane windows.

Expect the best linen and down, big lamps, fresh flowers, decent teas and coffee, a retro radio, and fresh, tiled bathrooms, some with showers over baths. Family rooms are very spacious - steps in one lead to an upstairs kid's den with beds, bean bag and telly.

Restaurant & bar

The Ship is locally renowned for its stellar fish and chips, which sets the tone for the traditional pub menu and everything is freshly made from seasonal local produce in the kitchen.

Daily specials showcase more adventurous dishes, perhaps local crab, lobster and mussels, alongside whole plaice with herb and caper butter.

From the main menu, try the slow-braised Blythburgh pork belly, tuck into a game pie with wild garlic mash and crispy hispi cabbage, or the Ship's grass-fed beef burger with all the trimmings, leaving room for triple chocolate brownie with chocolate ice cream. The Sunday roasts are a real draw so arrive early for a table. Wash down with foaming pints of ale from local Adnams, Wolf and Woodforde ales, or one of the 15 well chosen wines by the glass, served from the fine panelled bar.

Things to do

Whether you are an experienced birdwatcher or simply eager to get close to nature, build in some time to visit RSPB Minsmere, a nature reserve on the Suffolk Coast with plenty of accessible wildlife. Owned and managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, is a 2.500 acre site of wetland, woodland and coast that's home to some of the UK's rarest and most beautiful wildlife

The charming Suffolk seaside town of Southwold is well worth a visit, best known for its beach huts, historic pier and iconic lighthouse. A horse-drawn dray is still used through the streets and there is always a faint whiff of malt from the Adnam's Brewery mixed in with the sea-salty air. The Brewery is open to the public on specific dates - check ahead of time and go along for a tour.

Getting here


Nearest station: Darsham
Taxi from station: 12min
Drive: Southwold 20min; Ipswich 50min


St James Street, Dunwich, Southwold, Suffolk IP17 3DT

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